NASA and SpaceX Will Send Astronauts to ISS in April
Members of the SpaceX Crew 2 mission to the International Space Station attended training in Hawthorne, California on January 11, 2021. From the left are astronaut Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough. and astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). SpaceX
NASA and SpaceX have announced the date for the next astronaut launch to the International Space Station (ISS) with the recently developed Crew Dragon capsule. The capsule, which debuted last year on its first crewed test flight and first operational flight, was designed to carry astronauts between Earth and the ISS. It was hailed as an important step forward in the return of crewed orbital launches to American soil.
The next group of astronauts will be launched on Tuesday, April 20 at the earliest. Two NASA astronauts, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, a JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and an ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will travel together to the ISS. They will replace the crew members currently stationed there and there will be some overlap. This means that with a crew of seven, the ISS will be busier than usual for some time.
“Crew-2 is also expected to reach the space station to intersect with the astronauts who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission,” NASA wrote in a blog post. “The return of Crew-1 with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi is currently planned for late April or early May. Crew 2 astronauts are expected to return in the fall of 2021. “
The Crew Dragon will be launched from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will be launched from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is likely that the launch will be broadcast live on NASA TV. We will therefore keep you updated on all the details on how to follow the launch as soon as it becomes available.
NASA also says it is continuing work on its Crew 3 mission, which will follow the launch of Crew 2. Crew-3 includes NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, who act as the commander and pilot, respectively, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who acts as a mission specialist.